A Derby mortgage adviser who tricked customers out of more than £20,000 has been jailed for 14 months.
Self-employed broker Jona-than Marsden, 38, who had worked with Mortgage Options in Derby, admitted a series of fraud charges when he appeared before Derby Crown Court on February 4.
The court heard that he had tricked one of his clients, psychiatric nurse Jayne Williams, out of £9,000.
Ms Williams told the court that last year she contacted Marsden about remortgaging her house. She thought she was signing a document in connection with the remortgage but Marsden tricked her into signing a loan agreement giving him access to her money.
She said: “The first thing I knew that a loan had been taken out in my name was about three months later. I received a letter saying I had to pay £300 a month in repayments. Now I am paying my mortgage back at a higher level than I was to start with.”
The court heard that Marsden had conned smaller amounts totalling £3,000 from four other customers in connection with property valuation fees that were not due.
He provided references to Mortgage Options but hid the fact that he had been dismissed from previous com- panies for dishonesty.
In mitigation, it was said that Marsden had used the money to make alimony payments to his former wife.
It was also added that Mortgage Options had no knowledge of Marden’s activities.
Judge Andrew Hamilton expressed concern as to why Mortgage Options had hired Marsden, with his history of dishon esty with previous employers.
After the hearing, a spokeswoman for Mortgage Options said that all correct checks had been made with the FSA and the three years’ references he had provided had all been verified.
It was added that the company had co-operated immed- iately with the police when the fraud was discovered. It was also stated that the company’s employment procedures had been refined so there would be no repetition of the incident.
The FSA’s mortgage market review proposes the individ- ual registration of mortgage brokers in order to make it more difficult for problematic advisers to move from firm to firm unchecked.